Select Page

Francois Allaire formally retires as NHL goaltending coach

Francois Allaire

Goaltending coach Francois Allaire announced his retirement, ending a remarkable 32-year career.

Allaire, who pioneered the role of goaltending coach with the Montreal Canadiens, announced his retirement in a Facebook post on Tuesday, ending a run that included winning the Stanley Cup three times – two with Patrick Roy in Montreal in 1986 and 1993 and another with Jean-Sebastien Giguere and the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 – and coaching Roy to the Vezina Trophy three times.

“I would like to salute all the goaltenders I have had the chance to work with, either as a coach or as a teacher at different hockey schools all over the world,” Allaire wrote on Facebook. “I tried, as best I could, to make a difference.”

Allaire made his professional coaching debut with the Sherbrooke Canadiens in the American Hockey League in 1984, winning the Calder Cup with Roy before moving up to Montreal with his puck-stopping protege. Together, the two popularized the butterfly at a time when most goalies were still relying on a traditional stand-up style, winning two Stanley Cups and three Vezina Trophies together.

After a decade in Montreal, Allaire moved on to coach with the Anaheim Ducks, spending another 10 years on the opposite coast in sunny California. His work with Jean-Sebastian Giguere led the team to the Stanley Cup in 2007, which would prove to be Allaire’s last championship but not his final success.

Although his ensuing tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t end well, he made it to the postseason one final time with the Roy-coached Avalanche in 2013-14, his first season season as goaltending coach in Colorado. Allaire played a big role in turning around the play of Semyon Varlamov, who broke Roy’s single season win reached and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy that season.

Varlamov joins an impressive list of Allaire students that extends well beyond the names he coached on NHL teams. His summer camps in Montreal and Switzerland were often filled with NHL goaltenders, but even among those with the most direct ties his work speaks for itself, whether it’s goalies like Jonas Hiller and Martin Gerber, who were discovered working with him in Switzerland before joining him in the NHL, or Ben Scrivens, who spent time at that camp overseas before playing for Allaire with the Toronto Maple Leafs. James Reimer talked about the positive impact of Allaire early in his career with Toronto, and Calvin Pickard made strides in Colorado before being claimed in the NHL expansion draft by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Overall, it’s a great career to look back on for the elder of the two Allaire brothers, one that goes well beyond the butterfly legacy he started with Roy.

About The Author

Cat Silverman

Catherine is the first American in a long line of Canadians, making her the black sheep before she even decided she wasn't going to be a Leafs fan. Writer for Today's Slapshot, InGoal Magazine, and, coach in the Arizona Coyotes Department of Hockey Development. Goalies are not voodoo.

1 Comment

  1. goaliemojo

    Goalie coaching philosophy will always evolve but Allaire’s “good technique above all else” will remain rudimentary for ever. I sure hope he feels like doing some summer camps for youth goalies, because I for one would appreciate absorbing his insights.